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My personal experiences listed below could be adapted to allow a smooth transition of a new employee into the engineering company described in the case study. I decided to include my own personal insights on the topic as I believe that through my years of experience the knowledge I have gained through the initiation of new employees could be best explained through my own personal experiences.
As human beings we all have our problems and it isn’t enough to simply assist new employees with work issues — a great leader should keep his eyes open for ways to help out with private issues as well. A new colleague of mine had issues with transport as we work shifts in the aviation industry. As her supervisor I was able to solve her problem by creating a lift club with other staff members that lived in her area. In doing so, I think she knows I would do anything in my power to support her, which has created a loyalty that’s hard to break and indispensable in any working relationship.
In many instances when you receive a promotion you tend to forget where it all started and how you got to where you are today.
When I identify new employees struggling with a particular task, I think about what I went through and share with him/her how I did or did not solve the task at hand. As a leader, new employees often place you on a pedestal, but by trying to see and understand the situation through their eyes you begin to show your own vulnerability and imperfections which in turn eases their anxiety and builds comradeship.
When new employees begin working under me as their supervisor I take time to find out intricate details about their lives. Some like to share their entire life story while others keep it to the bear minimum. Either way you begin to build rapport and earn trust amongst them. One of our new employees celebrated her birthday in hospital. On her return our shift threw her a birthday party-much to her delight. It is important for new employees to feel that they are not just there to punch in digits but are part of a greater team that takes time to nurture them and encourage personal growth.
New employees are bound to make mistakes during the initial training phases and unfortunately in many instances the pilots are not scared to verbally highlight these errors. In such instances I usually make my way to their desk and sort out the problem immediately by reminding them of the necessary steps to follow to correct the issue. In doing so, the pilot tends to back down and the new employee is set at ease. If at any point I feel that the new employee is being exposed to any sort of abuse I remove them from the situation and report the incident to my direct line manager. We have a zero- tolerance policy in our department.
When a new employee requests feedback on their progress I try and be as truthful and transparent as possible. I know from experience that shielding them causes more harm than good. Transparency is usually accompanied by a few uncomfortable conversations, but those conversations prove you care enough to deliver the hard truth, which will mean a lot to employees. As a bonus, that truthful and transparent feedback will also garner better results.
When I started my honors degree I contacted our HR department and asked them to assist me in gaining a greater perspective on psychometric testing within the company. They gave me full access and the psychometrician was absolutely fantastic at what she did. I try and encourage new employees to explore all avenues within the company as well. I had a flight dispatcher that had completed her commercial pilot’s license and was interested in becoming an airline pilot. I was able to motivate to management how she will fit into our cadette program perfectly. She did the interviews and the psychometric testing and was successful. She is currently building hours up in North Africa and on completion, she will begin line training at our company.
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